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Thread: Now what do I do?

  1. #1
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    Now what do I do?

    I lucked out at an estate sale and purchased a large amount of fabric - mainly to use as backing. Some pieces are 10 yards long...but...had a heavy cigarette odor. They are now washed and folded, but, I don't know my next step. I normally do not prewash my fabric and wonder if I will have to prewash it for the quilt tops. Even the teeny 2 inch squares I have already cut for scrappy quilts? Would it make a big difference if I did not prewash and just heavily starched the backing? Help!
    "Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver." Barbara De Angelis

  2. #2
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I am confused? If you have already washed the fabric, like you said, that should be enough, don't you think? Are you thinking of washing it again?

    I don't prewash, so you probably shouldn't pay any attention to me...though I would prewash if there was a heavy cigarette odor.

    Dina

  3. #3
    Super Member thimblebug6000's Avatar
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    I don't think you should have too much problem using washed & prewashed in the same quilt. I always prewash fabric EXCEPT for jelly rolls etc. so in those quilts I've used a mix with no problems.

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    Get someone with a very sensitive nose to check out the fabrics you washed. You don't want to make a lovely quilt that the recipient won't use because of the odor! I'm like that myself. Also, I sure wouldn't wash those tiny pieces, they could be distorted badly when they are dried. I doubt they would cause much problem over the whole expanse of a quilt.

  5. #5
    Super Member Jeanne S's Avatar
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    I think you can use the prewashed backing with the other fabrics you have and already cut. I would not try to wash any pieces you have cut for fear of fraying and shrinkage out of shape.

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    I agree with Margaret on getting others to check out your fabrics first. Given that it's for a quilt, I would guess that body heat underneath it would amplify any residual scent. If you can't entirely get it out, it still may work for another purpose.

    Hugs,
    Charlotte

  7. #7
    Super Member Peckish's Avatar
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    I guess I don't understand what question is being asked. Are you asking about the odor or shrinkage? And how does the backing come into this? The simple act of starching and pressing fabric will shrink it, if that answers a question....

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    So you are asking if you can mix your new, unwashed fabric with the old, prewashed cigarette fabric?

  9. #9
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    You can mix unwashed and washed fabric. However if some of the unwashed fabric has a loose weave and shrinks a lot, there may be a bit of distortion in the finished product, depending on the size of the pieces and the density of the quilting. If the unwashed fabric behaves itself, then no problem.

  10. #10
    Super Member citruscountyquilter's Avatar
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    I have mixed pre-washed and non washed fabric in a quilt with no problems. The quilting I think really helps stabilize things together.

    I would air your fabrics outside even though you've washed them. There's nothing like fresh air to get out smells. I've had some really musty, smelly fabric that I've gotten from people and that's done the trick every time.

  11. #11
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    Try ironing your washed fabric to see if the smell is really gone. I find heat from the iron will be the true test. As for using washed and unwashed tigether, you might have a little shrinkage in the unwashed fabric when washed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peckish View Post
    I guess I don't understand what question is being asked. Are you asking about the odor or shrinkage? And how does the backing come into this? The simple act of starching and pressing fabric will shrink it, if that answers a question....
    I meant that I will use the prewashed fabric for backing and am worried about using unwashed fabric for the top of the quilt. Was worried that once the finished quilt is washed the top might shrink more than the back. Does that make sense? By the way, after two washings and vinegar in the rinse water 2 people with very sensitive noses found them odor free. Will try the hot iron - Tartan, thanks for the tip
    "Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver." Barbara De Angelis

  13. #13
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    If you are using it mostly for backing I don't think it will be a problem. If you are mixing with unwashed fabrics in a quilt top I would check to see if the weave seems to be about the same. Could also check by washing pieces of the unwashed fabric in a little pan of water, measuring before and after washing to see if the unwashed fabric shrinks. Lots of extra trouble but may be worth it.

  14. #14
    Super Member BettyGee's Avatar
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    If you have washed the fabric and it removed the odor, makes me feel yucky thinking about the smell; then I would think you are good to go.
    BettyGee, quilter on a Rocky Mountain High

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    I prewash every piece of material. Small pieces go into a lingerie bag or 2 or 3. Nicotine odor is hard to get out. Depending on how large the smaller pieces are would depend on whether I wanted to fool with them or not. I would be insulted if someone made me a quilt and it smelled of smoke. That's me. If you can find some one who has not been around smoke in a while ask them to take a whiff. The slightest hint of smoke will be made stronger when it dries.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete View Post
    I lucked out at an estate sale and purchased a large amount of fabric - mainly to use as backing. Some pieces are 10 yards long...but...had a heavy cigarette odor. They are now washed and folded, but, I don't know my next step. I normally do not prewash my fabric and wonder if I will have to prewash it for the quilt tops. Even the teeny 2 inch squares I have already cut for scrappy quilts? Would it make a big difference if I did not prewash and just heavily starched the backing? Help!
    If you are wondering whether you can use prewashed backs with non-prewashed tops, quit worrying. Don't try washing the fabric for the tops. After you get your project made and laundered, what was preswashed and what wasn't won't make a bit of difference. Been there, done that. froggyintexas

  17. #17
    Super Member Bree123's Avatar
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    I think it really just depends on the fabric. I've had some fabrics that I purchased that are labeled "do not pre-wash". Others I've been glad I did because there was a noticeable amount of shrinkage.
    The other issue you have to think about is that there are those very rare fabrics that will bleed the first time you wash them -- so just be sure that when you launder the finished quilt that you wash it on cold & if you have a lot of intense colors maybe toss in 1 or 2 of those Shout Color Catchers.

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    I have a related question, am new to this board and don't have permission to start a new thread, so hopefully replying to this is how I am supposed to ask a question. Thanks!
    QUESTION:
    I am relatively new to quilting and have heard conflicting advice on pre-washing fabrics. I was taught by my grandmother and aunt to pre-wash, but when visiting a quilt shop and discussing pre-washing fabrics with a friend, the owner of the shop overheard the conversation and told me that pre-washing fabrics is an antiquated technique and that it's completely unnecessary with today's fabrics. I mentioned that people often use fabrics from large stashes that may have been purchased at various times, even different decades, but she still asserted that it wasn't necessary. I just finished piecing a quilt made mostly of batiks and dark solids (all cotton, recently purchased), which I did not pre-wash, and now am coming across a lot of blogs that say pre-washing is essentially a must. Now that I have my top pieced, is there anything I can do to minimize bleeding once the quilt is finished (soak in a tub perhaps)? I am less concerned with shrinkage, because I like that look, but that may even become an issue. The quilt is a gift that is intended to be used with frequency. If I finish the project without any sort of washing now that it's pieced, is my recipient going to have a mess on their hands or come out with a completely different quilt once washed? Thanks for any advice you have!
    Examples of what I'm reading online:

    • For: "It prevents vibrant dyes from spreading onto other fabric. Some bright colors, like reds and purples, can run and bleed when they are washed. This can be very devastating if it happens to a finished quilt."
    • Against: "With today’s quality fabrics and dye, bleeding is not much of an issue. Most manufacturers realize that a vast amount of quilters do not prewash, so they ensure that the dyes are set completely."

  19. #19
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I still think you should air it out in the sunshine on a good weather day. Nothing like mother earth's wind to remove the last of the odor. I too have mixed fabrics. If your top is totally unwashed or a mixture of fabric, I don't think you will have a problem. Good Luck.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

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